Migrating web servers, upgrading dasBlog...#

Decided not to work on Sunday for a change.

Instead, I upgraded servers! Ah, such a geek.

My old web server Stan is very very old... P3 1Ghz with 512MB of RAM. Running Windows 2000, it has been a workhorse of a machine. I put Stan together in November of 2000. Hard to believe it has been essentially running unmodified for over six years. But that also means those hard drives have over 50,000 hours on them, which makes them ticking time bombs. And that's what the SMART reporting is saying too.

Stan is just too old to upgrade, he needs to be replaced.

His replacement is Jimmy, a machine I already had in the rack that was a testbed for betas of SQL Server 2005. Jimmy is a P4 3Ghz with 2GB of RAM, running Windows Server 2003 R2 SP2. Takes some time to get used to the little differences between IIS5 and IIS6, but its all bareable.

Migrating a web server is a pain in the butt. Lots of little configuration details you have to get right. To do the testing, I copied a backup of Stan's web sites onto Jimmy. However, since there are multiple sites on the web server, I depend on host header identification to sort out what site is what, which means I need to use the correct names of the web sites to access them. So what's a boy to do? I want to leave the sites up and running on the old server while I mess around with the new one.

I could have faked out a DNS server, but that seemed like a lot of work. Instead I modified the HOSTS file on my main workstation so that the web sites on Jimmy were pointed to directly. Funny how old technology serves the purpose so well.

Since HOSTS takes priority over any DNS lookup, I was able to point sites (like www.campbellassociates.ca) to the IP address of Jimmy directly. Then I could tweak and test to my heart's content.

One whammy I ran into was with FrontPage Server Extensions. For the most part my web server runs the little web sites of friends and family, and they all use FrontPage, whether Microsoft wants them to or not. While it set up the extensions easily enough, I couldn't administer the sites to set up access for the authoring accounts - no matter what account information I entered, it failed.

Turned out it wasn't me, it was a feature of Windows Server 2003 Service Pack 1. The service pack added a loopback check, making sure that the local computer name always matches the host header. And since I'm using multiple host headers, that's just not going to work. The fix is in Knowledge Base Article 896861. You have two choices: turn off loopback checking, or enter all the domain names that are legal for loopback checking.

I turned it off. Call me lazy.

Upgraded dasBlog as well. What I was really after was Akismet, the comment spam filtering solution. Unfortunately, the shipping edition of dasBlog doesn't have direct support for it. But the daily builds have it. I'm not normally a guy who runs a daily build, but for Akismet, its worth it. Take that, comment spammers!


Sunday, May 20, 2007 10:05:15 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [0]  | 


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Tuesday, July 19, 2005 11:00:00 PM (Pacific Standard Time, UTC-08:00) #    Comments [0]  | 


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